Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Private sector must drive research effort to further development of respective industries

WHILE more research is needed to drive our sunrise economic sectors forward, the agenda must be driven by the private sector.

This statement came from Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of Caribbean Export, who says that up to this point, the region is still to a large extent operating in silos, which are important within themselves, but without synergy, will not allow for the type of economic growth we are hoping to achieve.

Speaking to the press recently on the potential of Spa and Wellness sectors to drive tourism and product development, she argued that research could not take place in isolation to other activities, such as intellectual property, agriculture, health and wellness, but needed to be “part of a cycle and integrative process”.

Said Coke-Hamilton, “The issue of research must be driven to a great degree by the private sector. The university cannot get up and do research ‘just because’. In most countries, when research is done, it is driven by a need that has been identified by a businessman who has an idea and needs the research to buttress the idea.”

Missing link

She identified as missing the linkage between sectors such as the Spa and Wellness and the University, that would enable the latter institution to respond to the needs of the private sector.

“Caribbean Export has been working on this – trying to identify the linkages between what the private sector’s needs are and what the university can provide in terms of long-term research, product development, standardisation and all the basic elements that need to go into making an internationally certifiable product,” remarked the head of the Caribbean Export.

“And the research issue is not unique to this sector... it is across the board, in respect to agriculture, tourism services... you name it, the research element is needed. But it must be driven, because the university cannot on its own just start a research...

“Private Sector, you have to be able to very specifically say what is it that you are looking for, what is it that you want to know, and how is this will feed into a long-term development strategy for a your particular sector,” she concluded.

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